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Artist Spotlight: Laurel Geis

Updated: May 22, 2020

There’s a name in the White Lake Art Community you may not have heard over the last few years. Laurel Geis, the teacher that brought art to Montague Area Public Schools back in 1992 has returned the teaching scene, with two class offerings at the ACWL-Nuveen this month!

Laurel Geis moved to Montague from Chicago, IL in 1992. At that time, Montague hadn’t had an art program for over a year and she was the only art teacher for all three schools. So Laurel spent a few years building an art program and traveling from school to school in her truck stocked with art supplies. As the program grew, more art teachers were hired and Laurel settled into teaching at Montague High School. She was there until she retired three years ago.

Today, Laurel spends her time volunteering at the Muskegon Museum of Art, gardening, remodeling her house, and creating. As a retiree, she’s learning how to slow down and “let the work grow” now that she has more time to spend on her art. She works with a variety of materials including gouache, acrylic, and oil paints. Through her art, she tries to explore and understand what images mean to us and how we come to understand the world through those images. And while Laurel does portrait and figure studies, she really loves to create landscape-inspired works. The classes she’s offering this month are examples of landscape-inspired art.

Laurel with an example of the finished product for each of her class offerings this month

For those who want to create a fun, accessible, piece of art you can display without putting a nail in your wall, check out Sun Print Pillow Cover. You’ll design your own zippered pillow cover using dye and materials found in nature like ferns, flowers, or leaves. You could even use items not found in nature- anything flat with an interesting shape that blocks light will do the trick. Laurel loves using various shades of blue, but you’ll be able to choose whichever color you like. This class is being held on Saturday, July 20 from 12:00pm-3:00pm and costs $30.

If you’re interested in learning how to paint or in developing your painting skills, consider A Different Kind of Landscape. In this class, you’ll be studying sous bois, which is a French term meaning undergrowth or forest floor. By focusing on a small section rather than a huge, overwhelming landscape, you’ll be able to engage in close observation and REALLY look at one little spot of nature. Laurel finds this to be a great entry point to painting nature in a meditative way. And even though sous bois may not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Van Gogh’s body of work, he and other masters did in fact create paintings in this genre. This class will be meeting on Thursdays July 11, 18, and 25 from 6:00-8:00pm and costs $35.

Van Gogh's painting "Undergrowth"

We hope you'll join us in welcoming Laurel as a teacher at the ACWL-Nuveen by attending one of her classes. I can tell you from the brief amount of time I spent with her in order to write this blog, there's no doubt you'll leave her class more educated, inspired, and motivated to create.

Visit, call (231) 893-2524, or stop by the ACWL-Nuveen to sign up for one (or both!) of Laurel's classes.


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